Appearing for the first time in English, the writings in this collection reflect some of the most innovative and influential work by Japanese intellectuals in recent years. The volume offers a rare and much-needed window into the crucial ideas and positions currently shaping Japanese thought (shiso).
In addressing the political, historical, and cultural issues that have dominated Japanese society, these essays cross a range of disciplines, including literary theory, philosophy, history, gender studies, and cultural studies. Contributors examine Japan's imperialist and nationalist past as well as representations and remembrances of this history. They also critique recent efforts in Japanese right-wing circles to erase or obscure the more troubling aspects of Japan's colonial enterprise in East Asia. Other essays explore how Japan has viewed itself in regard to the West and the complex influence of Western thought on Japanese intellectual and political life.
The volume's groundbreaking essays on issues of gender and the contested place of feminist thought in Japan discuss the similarities between the emotional bullying of women who do not accept traditional gender roles and teasing in schools; how the Japanese have adopted elements of Western orientalism to discredit feminism; and historical constructions of Japanese motherhood.
About the Author
Richard F. Calichman is assistant professor of Japanese studies at the City College of New York, CUNY. He is the author of Takeuchi Yoshimi: Displacing the West and the editor and translator of What Is Modernity? Writings of Takeuchi Yoshimi (Columbia). He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Introduction, by Richard F. Calichman
1. Ehara Yumiko
The Politics of Teasing
A Feminist View of Maruyama Masao's Modernity
2. Kang Sangjung
The Imaginary Geography of a Nation and Denationalized Narrative
The Discovery of the "Orient" and Orientalism
3. Karatani Ko Jin
Soseki's Diversity: On Kokoro
4. Nishitani Osamu
The Wonderland of "Immortality"
5. Naoki Sakai
Two Negations: The Fear of Being Excluded and the Logic of Self-Esteem
6. Takahashi Tetsuya
Japanese Neo-Nationalism: A Critique of Kato Norihiro's "After the Defeat" Discourse
From the Hinomaru and Kimigayo to the Symbolic Emperor System
7. Ueno Chizuko
In the Feminine Guise: A Trap of Reverse Orientalism
Collapse of "Japanese Mothers"
8. Ukai Satoshi
Colonialism and Modernity
Reflections Beyond the Flag: Why Is the Hinomaru Flag "Auspicious/Foolish"?
List of Contributors
Index of Names
What People are Saying About This
This is a stunning collection of essays in contemporary Japanese thought and politics. It will immeasurably raise the bar in Japanese studies
Mark Anderson, University of Minnesota
Accompanied by Richard Calichman's masterful introduction, Contemporary Japanese Thought presents in translation some of the most compelling recent theoretical work -- ranging from analyses of neonationalism to feminism to everyday fears of exclusion and teasing -- from Japan. There is nothing like this in English. It is a singular and indispensable collection, one that reveals a vital conjoining of thought and political reflection in its contributions.
Marilyn Ivy, Columbia University, Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan
This collection of essays [as it stands] captures a very important aspect of contemporary thought in Japan, and represents, along with figures like Karatani Kojin, Naoki Sakai and Ueno Chizuko that are well-known in both Japan and the United States, a number of figures new to English translation who ought to be known in any global enterprise of theory. It is potentially an important intervention.
Joseph Murphy, University of Florida, author of Metaphorical Circuit: Negotiations Between Literature and Science in 20th-Century Japan